The Midas Touch

This month Foz previews solo shows in our region this month by Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze and somehow manages to work in mentions for two of his other favourite bands – Dr Feelgood and Nine Below Zero!

The London band Squeeze are an English music institution. Since forming some 40 years the group have produced some of the finest pop records ever made in this country. At the heart of all they’ve done past and present are Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook. It’s a bit of an exaggeration to call them the modern day Lennon and McCartney but for a few years in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s they had the Midas touch when he came to penning hit singles. Cool For Cats, Up the Junction, Labelled With Love and Hourglass are classic ‘45s while East Side Story, produced by Elvis Costello, is up there with the greatest albums made in Great Britain.

In 2015 Squeeze made another great CD – Cradle To The Grave – which featured songs from the Danny Baker TV series of the same name. It was a real return to form for Difford and Tilbrook who’ve so many fall-outs down the years you wonder how they still manage to share stages and studios.

As part of their British tour that year Squeeze performed at the Ipswich Regent with special guest Dr John Cooper Clarke. It was a magical evening and was by far the best gig I saw during 2015. When I spoke to Glenn recently he told me that he and Chris have now got the bit between the teeth again and that they’ll be recording a new Squeeze album early in the New Year.

In the meantime Glenn has embarked on a massive solo tour which brings him to our neck of the woods. The Best Of Times UK tour calls in to the Norwich Arts Centre on Monday, December 12 and then the following night Glenn is at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds. The nationwide trek takes its name from an album made with the delightfully named Fluffers who certainly lived up to their name by helping Glenn maintain his high quality performance levels.

Glenn Tilbrook has so many great songs from the past four decades that he doesn’t need to rely on the hit singles. That said, many of them do play a part in his own show without ever overshadowing his superb solo work. Glenn is one of only a handful of acts from the ‘70s who continues to make new music to the same standard as his best known tracks.

Back in the day he and Chris wrote a song called Monkey which Dr Feelgood covered on their Fast Women And Slow Horses LP on the Chiswick label. The Feelgoods’ tour which promoted that LP was called Speeding Thru Europe which many years later gave the current line-up the title of a live album. Many of the tracks on that CD still figure in the group’s set and will be getting their annual Ipswich outing on Thursday, December 15 at Venue 77.

One of Glenn Tilbrook’s neighbours in south London Nine Below Zero’s Dennis Greaves. They make a lot of music together and even formed a group called The Co-operative a few years ago. Dennis also guested on the last Squeeze album. Nine Below Zero have just releases a wonderful new album called 13 Shades Of Blue and share the bill with Dr Feelgood at The Junction in Cambridge on Thursday, December 8.

Have a wonderful Christmas and wherever you spend it may the Foz be with you.